Tigers blank Bobcats

Friday, March 23, 2012
Marshall County center fielder J.B. Reese catches a fly ball by Giles County's Taylor Gilbert in the top of the third inning. Photo by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

After whipping Giles County 10-2 on the road the previous evening, the Marshall County Tigers (3-2, 2-0 District) completed the regular season sweep of their longtime archrival on Tuesday night by defeating the Bobcats 6-0 at Joe George Field behind a stellar pitching performance from starting hurler Dylan McKnight.

"There's no question that this was a big win because we've split with them the last two years. We beat them at their place for the first time in a few years so getting the sweep today was great," said MCHS coach Steve Reese.

Effectively mixing his off speed pitches with his fastball, McKnight limited the Bobcats to just three hits and a walk over seven scoreless innings to earn his second win of the season while tallying seven strikeouts.

"Coach (Mike) Reese and Brandon Bush both called a good game and Dylan kept them off balance with his curveball," said Steve Reese. "He's pitched well all spring so hopefully he can keep building on this."

The Tigers finished with a modest six hits and one walk against Giles County starting pitcher Seth McLemore, but took advantage of two hit batsmen and two Bobcat errors, which contributed to three of Marshall County's six runs.

Cody Vernon went 2-for-2 with a double and a run scored to lead MCHS offensively, while Matt Sharp added a triple, 2 RBI, and two runs scored. Morgan Reese, Bush, and McKnight had one hit apiece for the Tigers as well with Bush driving in one run.

Zach Dunnavant, McLemore, and Logan Phifer all notched one hit to pace Giles County (4-4, 0-2 District) at the plate.

After both offenses went down quietly in each of the first two innings, the Bobcats stranded a runner at second in the top of the third before Marshall County pushed across a run in the bottom half of the frame with the help of an error, a Morgan Reese infield single, and a two-out RBI single by Bush to take a 1-0 lead.

Giles County had a chance to tie the game in the top of the fourth after McLemoredoubled with one out, but McKnight retired the next two Bobcat hitters on a groundout and a strikeout to extinguish the threat.

The Tigers then opened up some breathing room in the bottom of the fourth by crossing home plate three times in the frame on the strength of a hit batsman, a Zack Kirby walk, a two-run triple by Sharp, and a Jesse Kilpatrick RBI groundout to make it 4-0.

In the sixth, Marshall County tacked on two more runs to push their lead to 6-0. Vernon led off the sixth with a bloop double before scoring on a Bobcat error while Kirby reached first base on the play. After advancing to third on a single by McKnight, Kirby raced home when courtesy runner Bubba Houghton intentionally got caught in a run down between first and second.

Giles County managed to load the base with two outs in the top of the seventh with the aid of two MCHS errors and a single by Phifer, but McKnight fanned Dunnavant to preserve the shutout.